It has recently become clear why there's no idiom in the English language (or any other) which celebrates "The Luck of the Jarlsbergs." Because frankly, we're not seeing much of it lately.
In the past several months, my beloved dog died, my wife was given 2 weeks to live, I discovered that my teeth are rotting in my head and need $10,000 worth of repair, my best friend was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and now I'm about to become the grandparent to an Alien Baby. Alien as in "the kind from space," rather than "the kind that speaks Spanish and is going to get $450,000 just for breaking into our country."
To tell the story quickly, which is all that I have strength for, on the one frigging day last week that Kathy and I didn't need to go to the hospital, daughter Jarlsberg started having severe abdominal pains. We hurried off to CareNow where a doctor palpated her lower abdomen and scored a 10 out of 10 on the pain scale. It was amazing: bells rang, lights flashed, confetti dropped from the ceiling, and a small gallery of onlookers eating fair food cheered. For her high score, Daughter J was instructed to take any prize from the top shelf - although all the prizes were the same: an order to go immediately to the Emergency Room.
Once there, Daughter J was given an IV drip of Clan MacMorphine and hustled off for a CT scan to determine if her searing pain was appendicitis or diverticulitis. But it was neither. The doctor said they'd found a "very big tumor" which was "probably an ovarian cyst." I asked the doctor to convey the approximate size of the growth using the citrus fruit scale, but he had an entirely different part of the produce aisle in mind: "about the size of a watermelon." No, really.
Daughter J has a medical condition in which ovarian cysts aren't uncommon, but whoppers like this one are something else entirely. The good news is that such tumors are almost always benign, and they can be surgically removed unless you're covered by a Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO plan. Thanks, Obama!
Being her father's daughter, the delightful Ms. J is referring to the abdominal visitor as her "alien baby" and she's trying to figure out how to milk a few baby shower gifts out of the whole affair. We hope that the surgery can happen soon, and that she'll have a quick and uneventful recovery (usually about 6-8 weeks).
Meanwhile, Kathy is living with (and fighting) her leukemia every day. Today (Tuesday) was pretty typical: she woke up feeling not great but not horrible. Then continued to get weaker and weaker in the hours before an already-scheduled appointment at the oncology clinic. By the time we arrived, she was so weak she couldn't walk even using her walker and I had to borrow a wheelchair to transport her to the blood lab so they could take samples and see what she was low on.
Everything, it turned out.
See, chemo destroys your body's ability to produce all of the swell things that make blood so useful for tasks like, oh, sustaining life. Your system comes back online slowly, but until then you're utterly dependent on blood and platelet transfusions every few days. So today she got platelets and two units of blood (about a 6 hour procedure), but that will hold her until her next visit...on Thursday. And beyond that, we really don't know just now. Maybe we'll find out more on Thursday, or maybe we won't. The only thing we can count on is that Amazon Prime will soon be delivering the wheelchair I ordered today.
And that's really all I have the strength and brain power to share just now, but so many of you are being so supportive that I want to keep you in the loop. As always, your good wishes, positive thoughts, and prayers are all vastly and sincerely appreciated.
And if you happen to have any spare baby clothes roughly the size of a watermelon, well...
BONUS: KARMA KICKS KARTOONIST
It was 2013! How could I have known...?